The charity warns that the caffeine in energy drinks can mask the effects of alcohol, meaning that drinkers may be less aware of how drunk they are, and more likely to put themselves in danger.
Andrew Misell from Alcohol Concern said: “Sales of energy drinks have shot up in the UK in recent years, particularly among young people, but there is a general lack of guidance about the dangers of mixing high-caffeine drinks with alcohol.
“Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics – they cause the body to pass water – so mixing energy drinks with alcohol can leave drinkers badly dehydrated, possibly leading to vomiting, nausea, and other health problems in the long term.
“What’s more dangerous, perhaps, is that the stimulant effect of so much caffeine can mask the depressant effect of the alcohol. People drinking energy drinks with alcohol may feel very alert and not realise how drunk they are. One possible result of this is that drinkers will take more risks.”
Alcohol Concern is calling on producers and retailers of energy drinks to “act more responsibly”. The charity wants producers to actively communicate the possible dangers of mixing their products with alcohol in their marketing, and is urging bars and clubs to stop promoting energy drinks as mixers for alcohol.